Stirling, Scotland

We drove from the Glencoe area, on winding roads on the shores of Loch Lomond and on to Stirling. Stirling Castle was next on our list of things to see. This is a view of the James V’s palace from within the castle wall.

The palace is covered in remarkable sculptures. Look for the sun-like face in the shield of the centre figure. The upper figure holds a cross-bow. This photo is a closer view of the same wall (south) that was in the previous photo.

We walked along the outer castle wall. Unfortunately the views were obscured by haze.

The flowers growing on the castle wall were quite lovely.

Inside, the palace has been restored to look as if it did in James V’s time. The tapestries are reproductions that were done by hand that took four years to complete. Note the abundance of unicorns. Nowadays, the unicorn is Scotland’s official national animal.

Here’s a view of one of the ceilings in the palace. All the carvings are reproductions and painted as they believe they looked when the palace was new. The next photo below is of an original carving. There are many of them on display in another room.

And everyone needs a quintessential photo with a knight. Note that the knight is mounted on a pedestal, so is shorter than Bill, who is about 6 feet tall.

Doug captured a good view of the restored chapel, which is used for services nowadays. Wendy is at the far end, taking a photo of the hand embroidered cloth. See her photo of one of the medallions after this one.

After touring the castle, we headed down the hill, and found a cozy pub that served “artisanal” burgers along with traditional fare. Bill had “bangers and mash,” which actually is sausages and mashed potatoes.

We had enough time to go to the Wallace Monument, erected to recognize William Wallace, (“Braveheart” to filmgoers.) We took a shuttle up the Abby Craig (hill) to the base of the monument, then walked up to the top of the tower. We chose to walk all 246 steps in the narrow spiral staircase in one go, saving the displays that were partway along for the downward journey. Here’s a windy view at the top.

There was a display of Scottish heroes and heroines. The bust pictured below is of Sir Walter Scott.

We walked down the trail to the parking lot. You can see the Wallace Monument behind Joanne.

There were a number of wood carvings staggered along the trail and they were meant to signify a certain time period. The bear and other furry creatures denote the Ice Age, the pig is for Scotland’s first farmers and Joanne is posing with the carving for People and Invaders of Scotland.

Whew! All the pictures in this post were taken in one day. We saw a lot of castles on our trip to Scotland and we may have saved the best one for last. Next stop, Glasgow.

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